Applied Music as a Profession (AMAP)

Music Composition Workshops

Teachers Ravi Krishnaswami, Peter Lerman, and Don DiNicola are a collective of NYC-based composers, all currently active in the professional world of music making.

Stay tuned for New workshops!


Ravi Krishnaswami

A Strategic Music Overview: Avoiding The Widget-Maker Trap

Above you is every artist looking for sync money. Below you are terabytes of high quality, nearly free stock music. How does a composer get work in this environment? Why would an advertising agency go through the hassle of creating an original piece of music? In this highly commoditized environment, being able to brainstorm the strategy behind an underscore is the way to become invaluable. Moving beyond the “what” and tackling the “why” is critical to becoming a problem solver and not a widget-maker. In this overview, we’ll examine the different motivations behind music choices in marketing.

Peter Lerman

Broadway and Beyond: Composing for the Theater and Live Entertainment

With total worldwide gross receipts of over $5.6 billion, Phantom of the Opera is the most financially successful entertainment property in history surpassing every movie. Hamilton is the toughest ticket in town. Maybe that’s why everyone these days is talking about musicals. But how can you get from page to the stage with your own idea? In this presentation we will discuss everything from song form to the structures of successful musicals to breaking into the business of Broadway and other avenues of live musical entertainment.

Don DiNicola

Mixing Metaphors: The Language of Music in the Context of Film Scoring

An exploration of the metaphor of picture and the metaphor of music and how we can make them interact more successfully. We will begin to develop a language to discuss music in its more utile function. From literal to ironic; like type to against type; period (literal) to period (displaced). We will view examples of scored film clips and discuss how and why different choices work or don’t work.

How do we talk about music? “Cool track!”, “Nice”, “I love it”, “It doesn’t work” or “Close but not quite!”. All non-specific and ultimately not very helpful when we try to determine which music will work in conjunction with picture. As a composer and music supervisor I frequently encounter this kind of non-specific direction.

Often, neither directors nor composers have access to a shared vocabulary sufficient to describe or discuss what is needed. Certainly, intuition plays an important part. However, as narrative structures branch away from tradition, the need for a language to talk about music in conjunction with picture becomes increasingly essential.

Peter Lerman

The Pitch: Getting your ideas in motion

Music is often the final addition to a film or media project before it’s complete. But what if your music is integral to a project from the beginning of development? In this case, it is important to understand how you can successfully pitch your own project ideas. We will discuss the essential elements of preparing, pitching and presenting your projects for various types of media formats.

Don DiNicola

An Introduction to Narrative Structure and Why We as Scoring Composers Need a Basic Understanding of it

A very basic overview of traditional 3 act and 5 act Western narrative models through the lens of various film scoring examples. The role of cold opens and opening sequences will be included. We will also cast a sidelong glance at the Eastern tradition of 4 act Kishotenketsu structure as illustrated in basic 4 panel Manga, useful for scoring animation. Our focus will be on how musical structure can work with the narrative and how it may not work if you aren’t aware of where you are headed in relation to the narrative flow.

Ravi Krishnaswami

Composer As Collaborator: Hard-Won Lessons From The Trenches

In an age where anyone with a laptop, keyboard controller and internet connection can claim to be a composer for media, a career is build on ideas, trust and reputation. Understanding a creative brief, asking the right questions, learning from the needledrops… these are essential elements of writing original music for media. When I hire freelance composers, it’s often the revision process that seals the deal. Did the composer understand and respond to every note? Did she ask the right questions? This talk is where the rubber hits the road. Time will be spent on specific issues mentioned by attendees, and we’ll also look a bit at the business side of things and how that can impact the creative process.